Most gay hate crimes go unreported, Stonewall survey finds

More than three-quarters of gay, bisexual and lesbian victims of hate crime did not report it to the police

More than three-quarters of gay, bisexual and lesbian victims of hate crime did not report it to the police, a survey found.

Gay hate-crime victims are not coming forward over fears they will not be taken seriously and there is little the police can do, according to research commissioned by equality campaigner group Stonewall.

Half of those reporting a hate crime to police were not satisfied with the way it was handled and fewer than one in 10 victims who reported hate crimes and incidents said it led to a conviction.

Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey 2013, conducted by pollsters YouGov, surveyed more than 2,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual people across Britain on their experiences of homophobic hate crimes and incidents.

Alex Marshall, chief executive of professional standards body the College of Policing, said: 'The results of this Stonewall survey provide a significant opportunity to review and improve how the police respond to homophobic hate crime.

"There's still more to do and we are committed to working with forces, police and crime commissioners and wider stakeholders to ensure we play our part in delivering a better service for victims of homophobic hate crime."

One in 10 people experiencing a homophobic hate crime or incident was physically assaulted, the survey found, while almost one in five victims were threatened with violence or the use of force.

One in eight victims experienced unwanted sexual contact and one in eight victims have had their home, vehicle or property vandalised.

Harassment, insults and intimidation were most common, reported by more than eight in 10 lesbian, gay and bisexual people who have suffered a hate crime or incident.

Stonewall deputy chief executive Ruth Hunt said: "Despite radical steps to make police forces more accountable to the public, these figures show deeply disturbing levels of violence and intimidation still faced every day by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain.

"The fact that two-thirds of gay people who experienced a hate crime or incident didn't report it to anyone shows the scale of the challenge facing our criminal justice system."

Many victims of hate crimes and incidents do not report them to the police, the survey found.

Half of victims who reported a hate crime or incident to police said it was recorded with no further action taken, while two in five of those reporting a hate crime or incident to police said it was not recorded as a homophobic incident.

The research was launched at a seminar at New Scotland Yard addressed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

Shadow minister for women and equalities Gloria De Piero said: "This summer we celebrated the passing of equal marriage in Parliament but this report shows us that, while there might be equality under the law, people still face the most appalling abuse and discrimination every day simply because of their sexuality.

"It is shocking that three-quarters of victims of homophobic hate crime don't report the incident to the police and that victims still do not feel they will be taken seriously when they do.

"There is still too little understanding among the police and criminal justice professionals about the nature and seriousness of homophobic hate crime.

"The Tory-led Government should be working with them to review urgently their approach to tackling these crimes and to develop proper national standards for training officers and frontline staff in identifying and responding to homophobic hate crime and supporting victims."

PA